This week’s Saturday Mix over at Mindlovemisery’s Menagerie is Mad About Metaphor. The writing prompt is Necessity is the mother of invention.
Stephanie played to win.
Thus far, she’d achieved every goal, personally and professionally, that she’d set for herself.
If someone had the misfortune of being in her way, well, that was their own damn fault. She wasn’t the world’s babysitter, for cripe’s sake.
Guilt? Hah! Guilt was for wimps.
Stephanie had not an ounce of remorse for the heartbreak and ruination left in her wake—until some goody two-shoes from the Conscience Police deemed it necessary to point it out.
Even then, it was somewhere between an annoyance and an embarrassment: kind of like a droplet of ink on the cuff of a crisp white blouse, or someone calling attention to a dried-up booger peeking out of a nostril.
Business was business. Why can’t people get that?
Necessity is the mother of invention, and Stephanie decided that something similar to a Mr. Clean® Magic Eraser but on a much larger scale, was in order. She wanted a device that would instantly obliterate scuffed memories and annihilate the grimy details.
Then, a carnival came to town. Usually, Stephanie wouldn’t bother but Willy the Wizard—sorcerer extraordinaire—would be there. She’d heard marvelous things about Willy.
Hell, who hadn’t? Word on the street was that there was nothing Willy couldn’t create, fix, or modify. Someone said he’d even figured out the secret to perpetual motion, but Stephanie didn’t quite believe that.
In any case, she made it a point to be at the fairgrounds at ‘0 dark 30’ the day the carnival opened.
She stood outside Willy’s booth for nearly a half hour, waiting for him to show.
Finally, the purple velvet drapes parted and he appeared.
“Stephanie, isn’t it?” Willy peered at her through his John Lennon-style spectacles.
He was much smaller than she’d envisioned, and quite nerdy-looking. A chunk of his breakfast, or perhaps the remnants of a late night snack, dangled between his crooked front teeth.
“You know me?”
“I’m a wizard,” Willy shrugged. “It’s my job.”
He held the drapes open and motioned for her to take a seat in a forlorn papasan chair resting in the corner. Its faded orange cushion was stinky-stained with God only knew what, so Stephanie remained standing.
“You’re right,” Willy smiled. “Who knows what may lurk within such a cushion…”
Stephanie blanched and flashed an awkward grin.
“This is for you.” The Wizard produced a rectangular black box and handed it to her. “It’s your customized memory modification unit.”
“No way!” Stephanie gasped. “How did you know?”
“Again, it is my job, Stephanie.”
Stephanie plucked the device from his outstretched hand. “Tell me how it works.”
“Oh, I will,” he grinned. “…for one hundred and eleven dollars and eleven cents…cash, please.”
She dug in her dusty rose Prada handbag and retrieved its matching wallet from which she carefully extracted two fifties, a ten and a one-dollar bill.
“The eleven cents, please?”
She rolled her eyes and found a dime and a penny in the left front pocket of her jeans.
“Excellent!” Willy beamed. “Now, you must read the entire manual before using your MMU.” He handed her a tattered scroll that looked like it was from the 16th century.
“Uh, thanks but…can you just give me the basics?”
Willy sighed. “In a nutshell, hold the box to your forehead, recall an unpleasant episode, and click the delete button.”
“That’s it? Point, think, and delete?”
“Well, sort of. Please read the manual.” The Wizard repeated. “You must understand…”
“Yeah, sure…” Stephanie had already turned and began walking away.
“…you must be absolutely certain!” he shouted after her.
Willy the Wizard watched as she ditched the manual in a trash barrel without taking her eyes off the black box.
“Idiot,” he muttered. “Memories are subjective.”
That evening, Stephanie kicked back with a glass of Louis Roederer Cristal champagne and set about purging memories.
The following day, she awoke to a brand-new world, a world without her in it.
Her name was missing from the telephone directory; her picture erased from her driver’s license.
Even Google had emptied its cache.
Stephanie screamed a silent scream upon discovering an empty reflection in the mirror.
After the shock wore off, Stephanie gathered her belongings and moved on.
It was time for a change anyway.
With that, she did as she had always done when things didn’t go as planned.
She started walking and never looked back.